Lewis Hamilton produced an "extraordinary" performance in the Spanish Grand Prix to charge from the back of the grid to finish eighth, reckons his team boss Martin Whitmarsh.
The Briton was excluded from qualifying after a mistake in the garage meant he did not have enough fuel to complete an in-lap and provide a sample after taking pole position. Despite the setback, Hamilton executed a well-judged two-stop strategy that Whitmarsh thinks will silence those who suggest the former World Champion is too aggressive.
"Lewis was extraordinary," said Whitmarsh. "After a fantastic qualifying effort, and the undoubted frustration and shock at what happened after that, I am so proud of him.
"We knew we had to do something like a two-stop, but we knew how difficult that would be. So, from the get go, Lewis had to look after the tires. And this is someone who is often criticized and called the racer who cannot think it through and cannot look after his tires.
"He did an extraordinary job. To do 31 laps on a set of tires, and give it another 100 meters and he would have got past Nico [Rosberg] as well, he had to race, hustle, overtake and be assertive and aggressive at the right moments. He proved he could operate and he got himself in the points."
Despite praising Hamilton's charging drive, Whitmarsh did concede that McLaren had to learn lessons from what happened over the weekend, as it squandered a real opportunity to win.
"Clearly there are some negatives and disappointments that we take away from this weekend," he said. "To have to race from the back of the grid is tough, really, really tough – so we have to learn, we have to improve and we have to be better.
"But equally there are some positives. The car is quick, Lewis has demonstrated levels of maturity, resolve, and control, to add to the speed and talent that we knew he had.
"We leave here eight points off the drivers' championship [lead], and 11 off in the constructors'. In two weeks' time, hopefully we will be leading both. It is that sort of a championship."